MOSCOW, August 5 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Federal Migration Service says it wants to create a “network” of 83 detention facilities for foreigners awaiting deportation, just days after it set up a tent camp for hundreds of labor migrants detained in Moscow last week.
About 1,400 foreigners, most of them Vietnamese nationals, were detained last week during raids on local markets, the police said. A tent encampment set up for them in Moscow’s eastern Golyanovo district housed more than 600 of them by Sunday.
The Federal Migration Service (FMS) said it will need almost 4,700 new staff for 83 “special facilities” that will operate in 81 Russian regions, according to an explanatory note posted on the government web portal for legal projects Thursday. The agency currently has just 21 such facilities, the note said.
A Moscow-based migration expert said that camps similar to the Golyanovo encampment are widespread in the European Union, but Russia has no experience of defining their legal status and regulating their work.
“Such camps have no legal status in Russia, no rules for their operation, for the placement of people in them or for controlling the whole process,” Sergei Abashin of the Ethnology and Anthropology Institute under the Russian Academy of Science told RIA Novosti. “It’s a dubious practice.”
A relatively buoyant economy driven by revenues from oil exports and a dwindling domestic labor force have made Russia a magnet for millions of labor migrants, mostly from the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. Some 11.3 million foreigners entered Russia this year, of whom 3 million work illegally, Federal Migration Service chief Konstantin Romodanovsky said in late July.
Labor migration has triggered xenophobia and hate attacks and has become a focal point in the run-up to Moscow’s mayoral election set for September 8.
Acting mayor Sergei Sobyanin has made frequent calls for tougher measures against illegal migration.
“The city currently has about 300,000 illegal migrants,” he said in an interview in June. "If we take away crimes committed by visitors, Moscow will become the most law-abiding city in the world."